Franco Cristiano provides fireworks in Sires Stakes heat
While he may have drawn the outside barrier over the 1950m trip tonight, Franco Cristiano showed he will be a real contender in this year's NRM Sires Stakes final with a game third behind hotpot Lazarus.
From the get-go driver John Dunn showed that he would pay little attention to the more favourable draws afforded the Purdon/Rasmussen runners, flying the gate and setting up a 22 second lead time as he finally crossed to the pole at the mile mark. The Bettor's Delight gelding continued to run strong sectionals for the first half of the last mile, getting some respite when stablemate Alta Las Vegas drove to the lead from the 900m.
Coming to the turn and Alta Las Vegas was still running strongly but was about to be mastered by the stablemate up the passing lane. However, it was Sires Stakes favourite Lazarus who had stayed out of the speed battle up front which came with an undeniable run down the outside to grab a very game Classie Brigade (parked from the 900m). Franco Cristiano was a further half length away third just ahead of Alta Las Vegas which fought hard after being headed.
The first three home will all progress to the Cup Day final, while for Alta Las Vegas, it looks like he has at this stage narrowly missed a place.
Franco Cristiano before his game third in tonight's Sires Stakes heat
There is no doubt that if can can draw a marble in the big Group One final, Franco Cristiano is one of just a few that could trouble Lazarus. Tonight's heat was won in a very smart 2.19.5, a mile rate of 1.55.1, home in 800m 55.9 and 400m 27.1. Franco Cristiano not only showed his high speed, but also the toughness that John really rates him on. However, on the night Lazarus showed the class that he has and it is little wonder his price for the final has been crunched in further by the bookmakers.
Posted: Fri 23 Oct 2015